Coronavirus: people in England who break self-isolation rules could be fined up to £10,000

People in England who refuse an order to self-isolate to prevent the spread of the coronavirus could be fined up to £10,000 (Dh47,441), the UK government said on Saturday.

The new legislation, which comes into effect on 28 September, says that if someone tests positive for Covid-19, or is traced as a close contact, they must self-quarantine.

The UK government is looking to control a second wave of Covid-19 sweeping across the country. Britain reported another 4,442 new infections on Saturday, as well as 27 deaths, as numbers continued to rise. It marked the first time the daily amount had topped 4,000 for two consecutive days since the country’s infections peaked in early May.

“People who choose to ignore the rules will face significant fines,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement on Saturday.

Fines will begin at £1,000 and rise to £10,000 for repeat offenders, and for “the most egregious breaches”.

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“We need to do all we can to control the spread of this virus, to prevent the most vulnerable people from becoming infected, and to protect the NHS and save lives,” Mr Johnson added.

The government also announced that four million people in the UK on low incomes and who receive benefits, and cannot work remotely, will be given £500 payments to ensure they stay at home.

Although the main infection hotspots are in the north of England, officials fear that the capital London may only be a matter days behind in terms of infection rates.

More than 10 million of the UK’s 67 million population are already in some form of local lockdown. More restrictions will start on Tuesday in Lancashire, Merseyside, parts of the Midlands and West Yorkshire.

Separate households will be banned from meeting, and some restaurants and pubs will close early.

The government is desperate to avoid a second national lockdown, but Mr Johnson and his cabinet are considering taking further steps, including a two-week “circuit break” where tougher rules will come in to stop the resurgence of the virus.

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Mr Johnson’s government has been criticised for not having a lack of coronavirus tests available, with many people not being able to get one in their local area.

The national track-and-trace system has also come under fire, after it was found to not be working properly in some parts of England.

Keir Starmer, the Leader of the Opposition Labour party, criticised the government’s “testing crisis” on Saturday.

“If the prime minister does not get a grip of the testing crisis, children will be robbed of an education. We are seeing a growing flood of school closures,” he said, ahead of the Labour party conference, which began online on Saturday for the first time in its history.

“The testing regime is not working, nor does it appreciate the unique challenges many families are having to cope with.”

Updated: September 20, 2020 03:10 AM

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